SANTA CLARA – Coach Chip Kelly told his quarterbacks of the change on Tuesday. Shortly thereafter, he announced the change when he spoke with the media.
Kelly said on Thursday that there was no benefit from trying to keep a secret from the Buffalo Bills until late in the week.
“We live in a society where there are no secrets,” Kelly said on Thursday. “So if Colin took all the reps with the ones Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, somebody’s ‘mole’ would tell you who’s taking all the reps.
“And I don’t really care. We have two similar quarterbacks. Our offense doesn’t change. I don’t think you’re going to outsmart people in the National Football League, where all of a sudden, the second quarterback is playing, Rex (Ryan) is going to tear up his game plan and say, ‘We’re screwed. We have no idea how to defend them.’
"I don’t buy that whole 'stick a banana in the tailpipe' move and try to tell them the car is broken. You know what I mean? We made the manuever on Tuesday. We'll announce it on Tuesday."
Ryan, the Bills coach, spoke Wednesday on a conference call with Bay Area reporters. He said the switch to Colin Kaepernick from Blaine Gabbert has very little impact on the Bills’ defensive preparation.
“It’s his offense, that’s what you’re trying to prepare for,” Ryan said of Kelly’s scheme. “All the quarterbacks have mobility. It really doesn’t change much, recognizing that obviously Kaepernick is a tremendous runner.”
The 49ers’ offense ranks 31st in the NFL in total yards. The 49ers are last in the league in yards per play. Gabbert ranks 30th in the league in passer rating and last among qualifying quarterbacks in yards per attempt.
“We need to move the football offensively,” Kelly said. “So that’s why we made the decision to do what we’re doing. So, hopefully, we can get a little more consistency on the offensive side of the ball. That’s what we need.”
Kelly said earlier this week that the change at quarterback was one of the only maneuvers the 49ers could make as an offense because of the team’s depth. On Thursday, he clarified that players were rotated at every skill position through the first five games, except quarterback. He said he was not referring to the talent level of the team's offense.
Rookie guard Joshua Garnett is working at right guard, along with Andrew Tiller, who started the first five games of the season. Kelly said there has been no decision which player will start, but he expects both will see action on Sunday.
“He’ll continue to play more,” Kelly said of Garnett, a first-round draft pick from Stanford. “We’ll see how that goes. Hopefully, you’ll see both of those guys.”